Filipina student compiles COVID-19 travel precautions


For people who still need to travel amidst COVID-19, travelling nowadays can prove tricky. There’re a lot of new, crucial considerations to take in when flying safely amidst a global pandemic, especially in cramped airline cabins. 

But Michi Ferreol, a Filipina student, took on to the challenge and successfully managed to fly back home to the Philippines from Boston after a stressful 40-hour flight. She is now back on Philippine shores, waiting for the result of her swab test while on quarantine. 

Sharing how she made it back home, Ferreol compiled a checklist of COVID-19 precautions she followed that other Filipino travellers during the pandemic might want to check out, too. Writing on her Medium blog, shared her list of things to bring and what to do before, during, and after a flight. 

Michi Ferreol's Medium blog
Image credit: Michi Ferreol


Wear protective attire in the airport 


Aside from wearing comfortable clothes – such as a loose outfit paired with a comfortable sports bra for women – travelers these days should bring all kinds of masks with them ready for wearing. As masks may accumulate dirt over time, it’s wise to bring a stack of cloth masks and N95 masks with you. 

N95 mask
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons


Bring sanitizer, wipes, liquid soap, Ziploc bags, and gloves


In her sling bag, she put her hand sanitizer and her passport and phone, both enclosed in a Ziploc bag. 

Bring sanitizer, wipes, liquid soap, Ziploc bags, and glovesImage credit: Michi Ferreol 

Her backpack included stuff to keep her travel extra hygienic: a tupperware with Clorox wipes, gloves, socks, an extra plastic bag, a mini-soap bottle, a mini-Listerine bottle, and empty Ziploc bags. 

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
Clorox disinfecting wipes
Image credit: @joykarley


Mask up, glove up, and wear socks during check-in


Los Angeles airportThe line for Ferreol’s Philippine Airlines check-in at Los Angeles airport
Image credit: Michi Ferreol

When checking in, wearing gloves and a cloth mask is advisable. After handing your passport to the airport personnel, put it back into a Ziploc bag or any case that can protect your passport from dirt. 

If security checks require you to remove your shoes, change into a new pair of socks immediately after exposing your previous pair to the airport’s ground surface. 

GlovesImage credit: Wikimedia Commons

As the usual wet wipes might probably not work, after the bag check, she advised we use Clorox wipes instead to sanitize our bags. Gloves should be discarded after use as well, then you should wash your hands. Before boarding the plane, you can put on an N95 mask. 


Disinfect surfaces on the plane before you sit down


Your airline should have disinfected the plane before allowing passengers in, but it pays to be extra careful these days. Before you sit down, she advises that you wipe everything down first with Clorox wipes – including your seat, seat belt, arm rest, tray table, overhead luggage handle, and screen. Surfaces need to stay visibly wet for at least 30 seconds to 4 minutes. 

One seat apart in planesImage credit: Michi Ferreol

It’s wise to not put your possessions in the seat pocket in front of you for hygiene purposes. Put them instead in your handy sling bag. 

Try not to eat on the plane if at all possible. You can eat in the departure or transit airport, where it is easier to find an open space with fewer people around to do so.


Arriving 


Before disembarking from the plane as you’re bound to encounter and touch surfaces by habit, do wash your hands then put on your gloves first. Wipe down all bags, suitcases, and other possessions you have. 

Baggage claim area NAIABaggage claim area at NAIA
Image credit: Michi Ferreol

Upon arriving at your hotel, shower immediately and put all your clothes in a plastic bag, then tie it up. 


COVID-19 hygiene tips for air travel 


Travelling these days is all the more a privilege – so anyone who’s given the permission to fly home or on important trips should follow strict hygienic practices, not only to keep themselves safe from the COVID-19 virus, but to keep airline staff and fellow passengers safe as well. 

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Cover image adapted from: Michi Ferreol